November Props & Bonds

Roads and parks are on the November ballot

Here comes November, which must mean – you got it – another election. Travis County voters won't be weighing in on candidates this time around, but there are 10 state constitutional amendments for your consideration, as well as two county bond propositions. The latter are likely of more direct interest to local voters, though they're buried as usual under the litany of amendments and delivered in such summary form that they will be difficult for unprepared voters to decipher.

The Chronicle will be taking up the ballot in more detail next week (early voting begins Oct. 24 for the Nov. 8 election), but here's a snapshot of what most county voters will be pondering. (There are also special ballots for several smaller jurisdictions: Pflugerville, Round Rock, Lago Vista, et al.)

There are two Travis County bond props: 1) $132.8 million in road bonds to cover some 28 projects across the county – specific roadways, some bike lane and sidewalk spending, and also three catchall categories. 2) $82.1 million in park bonds for eight categories also ranging across the district (e.g., Northeast Metropolitan Park, Onion Creek open space, etc.) and the acquisition of conservations easements "to protect natural resources, maintain or enhance air or water quality."

A host of local luminaries and 20 organizations – ranging from the Austin Parks Foundation to the Downtown Austin Alliance to the Sierra Club Austin Regional Group to the Real Estate Council of Austin – have already endorsed the bonds, with a public campaign just getting under way.

The 10 proposed constitutional amendments are more difficult to summarize, and they range from extending officeholders' unexpired terms by one month because of the revised election calendar (Prop. 10) to permitting the Texas Water Development Board to issue up to $6 billion in bonds (Prop. 2) – in other words, the usual mixture of the arcane and the bureaucratic that the Texas Constitution has to accommodate like a sponge. The most important are those water bonds, an expansion of the perma­nent school fund distribution (Prop. 6), and a water conservation property tax exemption (Prop. 8). The less urgent would allow a surviving spouse to transfer a veteran's exemption (Prop. 1), make it easier for cities and counties to make interlocal agreements (Prop. 5), and allow El Paso County to issue revenue bonds for parks (Prop. 7).

In other words, by the time you check off Prop. 10, you'll be more than delighted to contemplate the relatively crystal purity of the Travis County bond propositions.


See more information on the Travis County bond propositions at www.travistwostep.com, and a sample ballot is posted on the County Clerk's Elections Division website, www.traviscountyelections.org. Detailed analyses of the constitutional amendments are available at the Texas Legislative Council website, www.tlc.state.tx.us/const_amends.htm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Travis County bond election, constitutional amendments, roads, parks, elections

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